IP Law Daily, TOP STORY—Fed. Cir.: Summary judgment of noninfrigement reversed in firearm magazine dispute, (Jan 14, 2022)

By Kevin M. Finson, J.D.

The trial court erred in the construction of the claim term “magazine catch bar.”

The claim term “magazine catch bar” could not be construed to exclude magazine catch bars installed by the factory in a dispute about replacement magazine systems, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has he ...

By Kevin M. Finson, J.D.

The trial court erred in the construction of the claim term “magazine catch bar.”

The claim term “magazine catch bar” could not be construed to exclude magazine catch bars installed by the factory in a dispute about replacement magazine systems, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has held. The patent did not contain language requiring a construction other than the term’s ordinary meaning (Evolusion Concepts, Inc. v. Hoc Events, Inc., January 14, 2022, Taranto, R.).

Evolusion Concepts, Inc. (Evolusion) was the owner of U.S. Patent No. 8,756,845 (the ’845 patent), which described a system for converting a firearm with a detachable magazine into a firearm with a fixed magazine. Evolusion sued Juggernaut Tactical, Inc. (Juggernaut) for infringement based on Juggernaut’s sale of “Hellfighter Mod Kits” which also convert a firearm with a detachable magazine into a firearm with a fixed magazine. Both parties moved for summary judgment and the case came down to whether the “magazine catch bar” referred to in the patent claims included or excluded a catch bar installed by the original manufacturer. The parties agreed that if the patent included such original catch bars, Juggernaut’s product infringed, if it excluded such bars the product did not infringe. The trial court determined that “magazine catch bar” excluded factory-installed bars and granted summary judgment of noninfringement. The court also determined that Juggernaut does not infringe under the doctrine of equivalents. It reasoned that, by disclosing but not claiming a factory-installed magazine catch bar, Evolsion had dedicated a factory-installed magazine catch bar to the public. Evolusion appealed.

Claim construction. Juggernaut argued that “magazine catch bar” necessarily excluded catch bars installed by the manufacturer because, in unasserted claim 15, the patent described removing all parts of the original magazine catch assembly before installing the patented product, including a magazine catch bar. The trial court relied on this language and similar language in the specification to hold that the term “magazine catch bar” referred to a new one sold as part of the modification kit and not to reinstallation of the original bar, as was done in Juggernaut’s system.

The Federal Circuit held that this was a requirement not found in the language of the claim. The claim only required that the catch bar be removed and that other components, including a catch bar, be installed. Finding that the claim language did not require such a limited construction, the Federal Circuit held that “magazine catch bar” should be given its ordinary meaning and applied it to both those catch bars installed by the manufacturer and those sold in mod kits.

As a result of this claim construction and the party’s prior agreement, the grant of summary judgment of non-infringement was reversed, along with the denial of summary judgment of infringement. The case was remanded for further proceedings on indirect infringement and validity questions which the trial court had not reached because of its summary judgment decision.

The Case is No. 21-1963.

Attorneys: Allen Marcel Sokal (Insigne PC) and Donny Samporna (Haley Guiliano LLP) for Evolusion Concepts, Inc. Gregory Perrone (Braxton Perrone, PLLC) for Juggernaut Tactical, Inc.

Companies: Evolusion Concepts, Inc.; Juggernaut Tactical, Inc.

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